As Ben Roethlisberger rides off into the sunset of an illustrious career with the Pittsburgh Steelers that will result in a gold jacket and enshrinement inside the hallowed halls of Canton in five years, the focus in Pittsburgh now turns to the next guy to assume the quarterback thrown in the Steel City.
Two guys expected to battle for that job in 2022 are Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins. Both spoke to the media on Wednesday and believe that they’ll both get the opportunity to battle for the starting gig, which has both young quarterbacks excited for the opportunity. Rudolph has started 10 games in his Steelers’ career, while Haskins has started 13 games in the NFL — all with Washington.
On Wednesday, Rudolph — who started in the 16-16 tie to the Detroit Lions in the 2021 season with Ben Roethlisberger on the Reserve/COVID-19 list — stated that all he wants is the chance to compete for the job, show he’s the guy moving forward in Pittsburgh, and will do so by fully surrendering to Matt Canada’s offensive scheme.
“Yeah, I think not being an 18-year established quarterback, you know, I’m not gonna have the luxury of saying, ‘Hey, these are some of the concepts I like, I want ’em to be called,'” Rudolph said to reporters Wednesday, according to video via Steelers.com. “You know, you don’t have that much pull as you have an established quarterback. And I get that, and I’m fully going to surrender to what Matt [Canada] wants to do, and do the best job possible.
“We talked about it, I talked to him a couple days ago about…what it’s gonna look like and how it’s gonna change,” Rudolph added. “We just ended our season on Sunday, so these are things that…we’ll stay in touch, and when things get installed closer to phase two or phase one, you know, I think we’ll all find out what’s gonna be different.”
Though his statement might come off to some as a shot at Roethlisberger for not fully investing into Canada’s scheme, Rudolph certainly wasn’t trying to imply that. He mentioned that it this year’s offense was a combination of Canada’s scheme and concepts Roethlisberger was comfortable with and wanted incorporated.
Now, ahead of the 2022 season, which is largely entering into the unknown for the Steelers after 18 years of Roethlisberger, the offense could look much different and closer to what we’ve seen from Canada during his college days, rather than what we saw in 2021. That’s all well and good for Rudolph, who stated during his interview that he is comfortable with all the pre-snap motions, play-action passing, and jet sweeps.
At the very least, he knows he has to sell out within the scheme to achieve something he’s always wanted: being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
“Yeah, I mean, that’s all I want. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be, was a starting NFL quarterback,” Rudolph added. “And I think I can do it. And I think I have what it takes and I think I’m ready to…get the opportunity again, to prove myself. Like I said, I’ve admitted, I understand that what I’ve put on tape in 2019 and even up until this point, there’s still question marks on my game and I wanna prove those people wrong. And I wanna prove myself to my teammates and the guys that I really care about. So, it’s one day at a time. And like I said, I’m excited. Yes, I am excited.”